Sindhu creates history, medal again eludes Saina
Guangzhou: Rising shuttler P V Sindhu on Friday created history by becoming the first Indian woman singles player to ensure a medal at the World Badminton Championships, while a podium finish remained elusive for Saina Nehwal as she suffered a straight-game defeat.
Before Sindhu, Prakash Padukone won a medal in the World Championships way back in 1983 when he bagged a bronze in the men singles event in Copenhagen, while the women's doubles duo of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa had claimed another bronze for India in the last edition of the tournament at London in 2011.
Playing in her maiden World Championships, 18-year-old Sindhu, seeded 10th, scored an upset win over local favourite Shixian Wang to enter the semifinals here. The Indian took just 55 minutes to get the better of her World No. 8 and seventh seeded Chinese opponent 21-18 21-17.
The London Olympics bronze-medallist and a quarterfinalist in the last two editions as well, Saina was erratic and could not hold her nerves as she went down rather tamely 21-23 9-21 in a 40-minute match against Korean Yeon Ju Bae at the Tianhe Indoor Stadium.
While Parupalli Kashyap, who was also playing at the adjacent court to Saina, played out of his skin but could not get across world number three Du Pengyu of China in the men's singles quarterfinal. His gallant fight ended with a 21-16 20-22 15-21 loss in an energy-sapping contest which lasted an hour and 15 minutes here.
World No. 12 Sindhu, who had earlier also defeated Wang once in their only meeting before this, will take on the winner of the match between Carolina Marin and Ratchanok Intanon in the last four round.
Against Wang today, Sindhu relied on her smashes, besides hitting as many as 19 clear winners.